Food that adds to stress: Caffeine

Coffee pot fountain

By Ralf Junghanns (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Hello everyone and welcome to this new thing I am starting where I talk about food and drink and basically anything you can consume which will add to your stress if you take too much of it. Before I continue I would like to clear the air about one thing, I am not saying that taking these foods, drinks, etc. will cause stress like you take one bite or one sip and then suddenly you will curl up into a ball in the corner because the stress is too much. These foods and drinks won’t do that but what they do tend to do is they make it easier for you to get stressed out or if you are stressed out already they add to it. So you can still have these things if you really want to, you should just be wary of the fact that they will increase your stress if you take too much of them.

Okay now that we have that out of the way let’s get on with the post. Today we are going to be talking about something almost everyone takes, it’s already there in the title but I’m going to mention it again anyway, caffeine. You find caffeine in a lot of things, in coffee (obviously), in tea, in sodas, even in some candies like chocolate. While taking this stuff in moderate doses is good, like I keep saying, too much of anything is bad for you. So what happens when you get too much caffeine into your system?

Anyone who has drunk coffee or taken anything else with a good amount of caffeine in it, know that after taking it you feel more energetic, more alert, and more awake, which is why so many people take coffee in the morning. But why does this happen in the first place? That’s because caffeine injects a lot of different hormones into you that puts our body in work mode.

  • Adrenaline, which gives you a boost in energy.
  • Cortisol, which keeps you alert.
  • And Dopamine, which makes you feel good.

The problem is when you take it in excess these same things will work against you.

  • Too much adrenaline increases your heartbeat and blood pressure, making you jittery. Plus after a short boost you’ll feel tired later.
  • Cortisol is also called the stress hormone, and while it makes you alert in small doses, taking too much caffeine can increase cortisol to harmful levels, causing your stress levels to skyrocket.
  • Caffeine spikes your dopamine levels temporarily, making you feel good. However once the caffeine and dopamine wear off you experience a low and feel sad. This can lead to a need for artificial dopamine and you can get addicted.

Excess caffeine can also lead to other problems like:

  • Lack of sleep. Since caffeine makes us feel awake, too much caffeine can mean trouble sleeping.
  • Lack of willingness to exercise. Although caffeine does give us a boost in energy, once the caffeine wears off we are left feeling tired and drained, which doesn’t give us much incentive to exercise.
  • Weight gain. Many experts believe that excessive levels of cortisol leads to cravings for fats and carbohydrates, in other words we want to eat more.

I got all this information from the following articles:

If you want to learn more about coffee and stress then you should check them out.

Although drinking up to two cups of coffee a day will protect your liver and brain, any more can be harmful. As always, balance is the key. So to end this post, taking coffee is fine, you just need to be careful how much you take and be mindful of when you take it. Since caffeine lasts in the body for 6 to 8 hours, drinking coffee just before you go to bed is not a very good idea.

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